Last January, while exploring Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in southern California, we met Howard and Linda of RV-Dreams. We had been following their blog and when we saw they were in the area, we took the opportunity to meet them. They ended up moving near us in the state park campground, and we enjoyed a few hikes in the desert and some great sunsets at Fond’s Point. The morning of their departure Linda told us that, as part of a birthday milestone celebration, they were organizing a ten day cruise leaving the first of December out of Miami . When we expressed concern about parking the motorhome somewhere, Linda informed us that they were going to park their rig at the home of a friend of theirs south of Miami. Their friend, also named Linda, also has a motorhome and a large yard where there were electrical connections for two rigs, so we could park there during the trip and have electricity to maintain our refrigerator (and batteries). Since we had never been on a cruise and are always up for a new adventure, we decided to join their group.
On Friday, November 29th we met up with Howard and Linda south of Orlando and followed them south to friend Linda’s place. Instead of the fast paced ride down the Florida Turnpike, we took US-441 around Lake Okeechobee, then turned on to US-27 to Linda’s house south of Miami. Howard and Linda had been to friend Linda’s before and we were glad to be following them, as it is a bit tricky to find her property. But we arrived without difficulty and Linda was even there waiting to help guide us through the gate into her property.
We quickly settled in to our spots, then enjoyed a great meal prepared by friend Linda’s daughter, Laura.
We spent Saturday doing some last minute shopping and packing for the cruise. Pam did most of the packing but John provided some outstanding support and advice! Proper supervision is critical to this type of activity.
Sunday was departure day and we wanted to be at the port early for a noon boarding. Howard had researched some parking facilities near the port, but had difficulty finding a place where we would feel safe leaving a vehicle. That’s when Friend Linda stepped up and volunteered to drive our Jeep to the port and drop us off, then pick us up when the ship returned. We really appreciated this as it made the task of getting to the ship and back very easy.
Upon arrival at the Port of Miami we quickly checked our luggage in with the ship staff and headed into the terminal. After checking ourselves in and getting our ship ID card we headed to the waiting area until boarding was permitted.
When we arrived in the waiting area it was basically empty. Soon we were joined by a few hundred of our fellow cruisers.
We were able to board the ship a bit after noon, but found our state rooms would not be ready for a couple hours. So we did what experienced cruisers do in this type of situation, we headed for the lunch buffet! Once the rooms were available, we headed out on our balcony to check out the view.
The first two days of the cruise are called Sea Days, as we move south headed for our first stop at St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. For us these days are the most boring part of the cruise. The crew has an extensive list of activities, but most are things like bingo, art auctions, and time in the smoke-filled casino. Many people were enjoying the time to relax in the sun by the pool, but since we had just spent two weeks in Myrtle Beach doing the same thing, this wasn’t very exciting for us.
But we managed to survive and will share pictures of some of our shore adventures in our next blog.
More on that later . . .